Before You Hand Over the Keys: Teen Drivers and Car Accidents

June 12, 2019 @ 10:57 am

teen driving and accident prevention blog photo

According to a recent study, more than 60 percent of vehicular collisions involve teenage motorists, and during the last five years, the number of automotive accidents significantly increased. Generally, at least 12 percent of teen driving accidents have been caused by motorists who were using mobile devices, yet more than 15 percent of automotive collisions were precipitated by other interactions that distracted the motorists.

The data makes it clear that teens are at a heightened risk to auto accidents. This is likely due to a combination of inexperience and temptation while driving. So how can we better protect them? Here are a few ways to help your teen become a better driver by establishing key safety habits behind the wheel.

1.  Text Messaging

Reports indicate that more than 30 percent of drivers regularly send text messages while on the road. These distractions could double the likelihood of an automotive collision. If an inexperienced teen driver is sending text messages, the results could be even more devastating. The extra attention it takes to text may reduce focus, decrease reaction time and influence their critical thinking.

By enforcing a “phones off” rule while inside the car, you can help your teen avoid the temptation of checking messages or missed calls while driving.

2.  Lane Changing and Appropriate Mirror Usage

According to one study, 38 percent of young drivers fail to evaluate at least two mirrors before they change lanes. Likewise, most teenage motorists don’t actually turn their heads before their vehicles drift into other lanes. If your teen practices regularly checking two mirrors, the technique can help them remain aware of their surroundings and avoid cars in their blindspot.

3.  Adjusting for Weather Conditions

Understanding how weather affects driving is especially important for new drivers. Teens aren’t experienced enough to anticipate driving changes needed for certain road conditions, so inclement weather naturally increases their risk for accidents.

To help bridge this gap, it’s important to discuss speed reduction, hazard light usage and increase following distance when weather conditions like rain, fog and snow come into play. Also, consider having assisted driving sessions during mild rain to acclimate them to new driving experiences.

4.  Vehicle Safety

Selecting a vehicle that features all-weather tires, a rear camera, and exterior sensors could help reduce the risk of collisions for your teen. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has also indicated that electronic stability control could decrease the likelihood of automotive collisions by more than 21 percent. Moreover, anti-lock brakes could prevent a vehicle from sliding and may reduce the risk of accidents after heavy rain.

5.  Minimizing Distractions

In order to optimize safety, a teenage driver should eliminate loud music, reduce the number of lane changes, deactivate mobile devices that could cause distractions, examine numerous mirrors, maintain a safe distance and decrease the average speed of the vehicle. If an automobile contains a passenger, the driver can avoid distracting conversations, individuals who use Bluetooth or sudden movements that could affect the motorist’s focus.

Protect Your Young Driver. Know the Road.

While there are often many factors out of our control while driving, following a strict code of safety is key to minimizing accident risk. Help your teen develop smart habits behind the wheel, understand their own limitations and adhere to the laws of the road. While not all-protecting, these three areas will give them a strong foundation for safely navigating the road.

If you or your child is involved in an automotive collision and needs legal advice, contact our offices online or call 800-356-6776 today.